Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Bothriochloa pertusa
(pitted beard grass)

Toolbox

Datasheet

Bothriochloa pertusa (pitted beard grass)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 13 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Bothriochloa pertusa
  • Preferred Common Name
  • pitted beard grass
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Monocotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • B. pertusa is a perennial grass native to eastern and southern Asia. It has been widely introduced outside Asia, in the Americas, Australia and the Pacific, either accidentally or probably in some cases deliber...

Don't need the entire report?

Generate a print friendly version containing only the sections you need.

Generate report

Pictures

Top of page
PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Bothriochloa pertusa (Pitted beardgrass); habit. Kaupo, Maui, Hawaii, USA. December, 2003.
TitleHabit
CaptionBothriochloa pertusa (Pitted beardgrass); habit. Kaupo, Maui, Hawaii, USA. December, 2003.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Bothriochloa pertusa (Pitted beardgrass); habit. Kaupo, Maui, Hawaii, USA. December, 2003.
HabitBothriochloa pertusa (Pitted beardgrass); habit. Kaupo, Maui, Hawaii, USA. December, 2003.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Bothriochloa pertusa (Pitted beardgrass); inflorescence. Kiei, Lanai, Hawaii, USA. April , 2006.
TitleInflorescence
CaptionBothriochloa pertusa (Pitted beardgrass); inflorescence. Kiei, Lanai, Hawaii, USA. April , 2006.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Bothriochloa pertusa (Pitted beardgrass); inflorescence. Kiei, Lanai, Hawaii, USA. April , 2006.
InflorescenceBothriochloa pertusa (Pitted beardgrass); inflorescence. Kiei, Lanai, Hawaii, USA. April , 2006.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Bothriochloa pertusa (Pitted beardgrass); seedheads. South Beach Sand Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June, 2008
TitleSeedheads
CaptionBothriochloa pertusa (Pitted beardgrass); seedheads. South Beach Sand Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June, 2008
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Bothriochloa pertusa (Pitted beardgrass); seedheads. South Beach Sand Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June, 2008
SeedheadsBothriochloa pertusa (Pitted beardgrass); seedheads. South Beach Sand Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June, 2008©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Bothriochloa pertusa (Pitted beardgrass); close-up of seedheads. South Beach Sand Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June, 2008
TitleSeedheads
CaptionBothriochloa pertusa (Pitted beardgrass); close-up of seedheads. South Beach Sand Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June, 2008
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Bothriochloa pertusa (Pitted beardgrass); close-up of seedheads. South Beach Sand Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June, 2008
SeedheadsBothriochloa pertusa (Pitted beardgrass); close-up of seedheads. South Beach Sand Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June, 2008©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0

Identity

Top of page

Preferred Scientific Name

  • Bothriochloa pertusa (L.) A. Camus

Preferred Common Name

  • pitted beard grass

Other Scientific Names

  • Amphilophis pertusa (L.) Stapf
  • Andropogon pertusus (L.) Willd.
  • Bothriochloa nana W.Z. Fang
  • Dichanthium pertusum (L.) Clayton
  • Holcus pertusus L.
  • Lepeocercis pertusa (L.) Hassk.
  • Sorghum pertusum (L.) Kuntze

International Common Names

  • English: hurricane pitted-bluestem; Indian couch grass; pitted beardgrass; sweet pitted grass
  • Spanish: camagueyna; comagueyana; yerba huracán

Local Common Names

  • Australia: Indian blue grass
  • Caribbean: Antigua hay; Barbados sour grass
  • China: kong ying cao
  • Cuba: camagüeyana; yerba camagüeyana
  • Dominican Republic: acaba finca
  • India: Sandhor
  • Indonesia: rebha las-alasan; suket putihan
  • Lesser Antilles: Seymour grass
  • Malaysia: rumput embun
  • Mexico: carreterograss
  • New Caledonia: silver grass
  • Philippines: salay; salay-parang
  • Puerto Rico: yerba agria de Barbados; yerba amarga
  • Thailand: ya-hangma; ya-hom
  • USA: hurricane grass; pitted beardgrass; pitted blue-stem; seymour grass
  • Vietnam: huyêt tha'o lô

Summary of Invasiveness

Top of page

B. pertusa is a perennial grass native to eastern and southern Asia. It has been widely introduced outside Asia, in the Americas, Australia and the Pacific, either accidentally or probably in some cases deliberately for use as a forage grass. It has established itself in many habitats where it is able to out-compete native species due to its ability to establish dense mats and shade out slower establishing species. In Australia it is now an established invasive species in both the Northern Territory and central Queensland. It is similarly regarded as invasive in Mexico, in Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Anguilla and the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean, in Mauritius, and in New Caledonia, the Marquesas Islands, Midway Atoll and Hawaii in the Pacific. In Hawaii, it is among species threatening the endangered plants Spermolepis hawaiiensis and Wilkesia hobdyi. Through its effects on native vegetation, it likewise threatens the endangered lizard Ameiva polops in the US Virgin Islands, and affects populations of ants and birds in Australia.

Taxonomic Tree

Top of page
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Monocotyledonae
  •                     Order: Cyperales
  •                         Family: Poaceae
  •                             Genus: Bothriochloa
  •                                 Species: Bothriochloa pertusa

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

Top of page

B. pertusa was originally named Holcus pertusus by Linnaeus. It has since been included in a number of other genera including Andropogon, Amphiliopis and Dicanthium, but is now almost invariably referred to as Bothriochoa pertusa. The term pertusa means 'pierced' and presumably relates to the pitted glumes.

Natural hybridization between B. intermedia and B. pertusa apparently takes place in India (Wet and Higgins, 1964).

A number of varieties have been developed e.g. in Australia (Cook et al., 2005), Colombia (Roncallo F et al., 2012) and India (Cook et al., 2005).

Some confusion and uncertainty about the distribution of B. pertusa has arisen due to its very close similarity to the mainly African species B. insculpta. Clayton and Renvoize (1982) comment that B. insculpta ‘cannot be reliably separated from the Asiatic B. pertusaand it is uncertain whether the latter has been introduced to Africa. B. pertusa is a stoloniferous sward-forming plant with a delicate few-racemed sub-digitate inflorescence and pitless pedicelled spikelets. Both species have been maintained pending further cytogenetic investigation, for it appears that they do not interbreed (Wet and Higgins, 1963) but a purely geographical distinction without adequate discriminatory morphological characters is clearly unsatisfactory.’ Chippindall (1955) also comments that although some South African plants have been referred to B. pertusa, they cannot be reliably separated from B. insculpta on the basis of the key characters generally used, including the presence or absence of pits and hairiness of the sessile spikelets.

However, B. insculpta has a chromosome number of 2n=50 or 2n=60, compared to 2n=40 in B. pertusa, and the two species are thus distinct and seperable in terms of ploidy. Furthermore, when Pengelly et al. (1997) compared 128 accessions of B. pertusa and B. insculpta on the basis of agronomic characters including flowering time, stolon development and yield, they found that the two species formed clearly different groups.

On the basis of the above, it is confidently assumed that the two are distinct species, and this datasheet deals with B. pertusa only.

Description

Top of page

B. pertusa is a stoloniferous perennial. Stolons often pink, rooting at the nodes, creeping extensively to form a sward. Nodes bearded. Stems geniculately erect 60-100 cm high. Leaves up 10-30 cm long, 2-5 mm wide, apex acute, mainly crowded at the base of the culms, usually glabrous, but with some scattered hairs. Ligule cilate 1-2 mm long. Inflorescence sub-digitate with up to 12 shortly pedunculate purplish racemes each up to 7 cm long, the lowest longer than the central axis, pilose. Sessile spikelet narrowly elliptic 3-4 mm log, lower glume cartilaginous, hairy on the lower half, with one or two pits in upper half; fertile lemma reduced to a slender geniculate awn up to 20 mm (normally 10-17 mm) long. Pedicelled spikelet on densely hairy pedicel up to 3 mm long, glabrous, occasionally pitted, usually sterile. Caryopsis 1.5 to 2 mm long, and shed firmly enclosed in the fertile lemma with sterile lemma and awn still attached.

Plant Type

Top of page Grass / sedge
Herbaceous
Perennial
Seed propagated
Vegetatively propagated

Distribution

Top of page

B. pertusa is native to eastern and southern Asia but has been widely introduced into the Americas, the Caribbean, Australia and the Pacific, either deliberately or otherwise. It is uncertain whether it has been introduced to Africa. Clayton and Renvoize (1982) comment that B. insculpta ‘cannot be reliably separated from the Asiatic B. pertusa’ and this has led to the uncertainty, although they do appear to be distinct species. It seems likely that it would have been introduced as a forage plant in Africa but there are no reliable records.

Distribution Table

Top of page

The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Asia

BhutanPresent only in captivity/cultivation1996IntroducedNoltie, 2000
CambodiaPresentNativePIER, 2013
ChinaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
-GuangdongPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
-SichuanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
-YunnanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
IndiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
-Andhra PradeshPresentNativeShukla, 1996
-BiharPresentNativeShukla, 1996
-GujaratPresentNativeShukla, 1996
-Himachal PradeshPresentNativeShukla, 1996
-Indian PunjabPresentNativeShukla, 1996
-Jammu and KashmirPresentBhat and Kaul, 1989
-KarnatakaPresentNativeShukla, 1996
-KeralaPresentNativeShukla, 1996
-Madhya PradeshPresentNativeShukla, 1996
-MaharashtraPresentNativeShukla, 1996
-NagalandPresentNativeShukla, 1996
-OdishaPresentNativeShukla, 1996
-RajasthanPresentNativeShukla, 1996
-Tamil NaduPresentNativeShukla, 1996
-Uttar PradeshPresentNativeShukla, 1996
-West BengalPresentNativeShukla, 1996
IndonesiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
MalaysiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
MyanmarPresentNativeShukla, 1996
NepalPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
PakistanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
Sri LankaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
ThailandPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
VietnamPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013

Africa

EthiopiaAbsent, unreliable recordIntroducedFroman and Persson, 1974
MadagascarPresentIntroducedMadagascar Catalogue, 2014
MauritiusPresentIntroduced Invasive ISSG, 2013
RéunionPresentIntroducedCadet, 1970

North America

MexicoPresentIntroduced Invasive GBIF, 2013
USAPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-FloridaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2013
-LouisianaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-MarylandPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-MississippiPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-TexasPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013

Central America and Caribbean

AnguillaPresentIntroduced Invasive ISSG, 2013
Antigua and BarbudaPresentIntroducedPaterson, 1986
ArubaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012
BahamasPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2013Mayaguana Island
BarbadosPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
BelizePresentIntroducedFlora Mesoamericana, 2014
BonairePresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012
Cayman IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive ISSG, 2013
Costa RicaPresentIntroduced Invasive Chacon and Saborio, 2012
CubaPresentIntroduced Invasive Tóth et al., 1997; Oviedo Prieto et al., 2012
CuraçaoPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012
DominicaPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroduced Invasive Kairo et al., 2003
GrenadaPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
GuadeloupePresentIntroducedAumont and Xande, 1989
HaitiPresentIntroduced
HondurasPresentIntroducedFlora Mesoamericana, 2014
JamaicaPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2014
NicaraguaPresentIntroducedFlora of Nicaragua, 2014
PanamaPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2014
Puerto RicoPresentIntroducedKairo et al., 2003; USDA-NRCS, 2013
Saint Kitts and NevisPresentIntroducedLindsay and Horwith, 1999
Saint LuciaPresentIntroduced Invasive Graveson, 2012; ISSG, 2013Risk to coastal grasslands and savanna
Trinidad and TobagoPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012
United States Virgin IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive McNair and Lombard, 2004; USDA-NRCS, 2013

South America

BrazilPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-CearaPresentIntroducedValls, 2014Naturalized
ColombiaPresentIntroducedPérez C et al., 2012
EcuadorPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
VenezuelaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014

Europe

ItalyPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedGrossi et al., 1998

Oceania

AustraliaPresentIntroduced Invasive GBIF, 2013
-Australian Northern TerritoryPresentIntroduced Invasive Jones, 1997
-QueenslandPresentIntroduced Invasive McIvor, 2007
Cook IslandsPresentIntroducedPIER, 2013
French PolynesiaPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2013Nuku Hiva, Marquesas islands
GuamPresentPIER, 2013
New CaledoniaPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2013Île Matthew, Île Grande Terre
Northern Mariana IslandsPresentPIER, 2013
US Minor Outlying IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2013Midway Atoll, Sand Island

History of Introduction and Spread

Top of page

In Mexico, B. pertusa was identified in the early 1970s; it is believed that it was introduced from southern Europe to the Caribbean and that from there it invaded a large part of the Mexican Gulf Coast (Alba and Gould, 1977). Dates of introduction to other areas are uncertain, but for the Caribbean, there are records of specimens from 1896 in the Virgin Islands (St. Croix), 1917 in Jamaica, and from 1943 in Puerto Rico (US National Herbarium); also from 1956 in Colombia and 1970 in Nicaragua (GBIF, 2013). Earliest records of specimens from Hawaii are from 1936 and, for the mainland USA, from 1958. As the species is regarded as a useful forage grass, it is likely that at least some introductions have been deliberate, although no definite documentary evidence of such introduction beyond the local scale is available.

Risk of Introduction

Top of page

There would appear to be some risk of further deliberate introductions due to the perceived value of B. pertusa as a forage grass and as a soil stabilizer.

Habitat

Top of page

In Hawaii, B. pertusa is naturalised in open, disturbed sites, pastures, savannahs and along roadsides (PIER, 2013). In China it occurs on grassy hills and disturbed ground (eFloras, 2013). In India it is common in heavily grazed or frequently mown areas of grassland and open woodland up to 2500 m. According to Cook et al. (2005), it is 'Common on neutral to alkaline, cracking clay soils of India, but also grows on well drained, coarse to fine-textured soils with a pH as low as 5.0. Colonises poorer soils where other grasses may not grow, particularly when management favours spread of the species.' In Costa Rica, B. pertusa invades disturbed areas in dry and wet forests, pastures and roadsides (Chacon and Saborio, 2012). 

Habitat List

Top of page
CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
 
Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Principal habitat Productive/non-natural
Industrial / intensive livestock production systems Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Principal habitat Natural
Rail / roadsides Principal habitat Natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Natural grasslands Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural grasslands Principal habitat Natural
Scrub / shrublands Principal habitat Natural

Hosts/Species Affected

Top of page

B. pertusa is rarely recorded as a weed of crops but may impact wild species as noted under ‘Impact on Biodiversity’.

Biology and Ecology

Top of page

Genetics

Chromosome number n is variously quoted as 18 or 20 but 2n usually as 40, or occasionally as 60 (Missouri Botanic Garden, 2013; eFloras, 2013; Wet and Higgins, 1964).

Wet and Higgins (1964) suggest that B. pertusa is a segmental allotetraploid to which the genomes BBB2B2 were assigned by Harlan et al. (1961) -- ‘The B and B2 genomes are sufficiently different to allow strict bivalent formation, but closely enough related for occasional multivalents to be produced during meiosis.’ They note that apomictic Bothriochloa species can function sexually. These authors discuss further detail of the genetics of B. pertusa (and of B. insculpta) including the status of a hexaploid (2n = 60) referred to as B. pertusa var. bifovelotata.

Reproductive Biology

B. pertusa is described as apomictic by Wet and Higgins (1964).

Seed production in a grazed pasture in Australia was recorded as 840-1070 per m2 (McIvor et al., 1996). The species flowers relatively late in the season, 86 days after Jan 1 in the Australian summer.

Very little information has been found on germination, but Cook et al. (2005) note that there is a high level of dormancy in freshly harvested seed, which breaks down after 4-9 months storage. Pathak et al. (1971) also noted the highest germination after 10 months storage.

Physiology and Phenology

B. pertusa is a C4 plant (Rogers et al. 2004). ISSG (2013) notes that stolons may grow to 1.6m in length, and patches can grow to 2.7 m in 5 years.

Longevity

In dry storage, seeds of B. pertusa retained viability for at least 84 months (Parihar and Rai, 1985).

B. pertusa is a perennial grass. In Queensland, Australia, there was more than 50% survival of B. pertusa plants after 4 years (McIvor, 2007).

Nutrition

B. pertusa responds to P and N fertilization but has relatively low requirements and thrives under low fertility conditions (Cook et al., 2005).

Associations

Pérez C et al. (2012) found a range of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi associated with B. pertusa in Colombia. Li et al. (2010) have similarly documented the AM fungi of B. pertusa in China. Perez C et al. (2010) also identified a range of bacterial endophytes associated with B. pertusa in Colombia.

Gomez et al. (2010) identified 10 nematode species associated with B. pertusa in Colombia.

Environmental requirements

Germination and early seedling growth rate were less affected in B. pertusa than in Dichanthium annulatum at 5, 10 and 15 dSm-1 of applied salinity. Reduction in dry weight was obvious only at 15 dSm-1 (Parveen Akhtar and Farrukh Hussain, 2008). Tóth et al. (1997), however, found B. pertusa less tolerant of salinity than several other species in saline pastures in Cuba, being adversely affected over 8 dSm-1.

B. pertusa tolerates heavy grazing in Australia (McIvor, 1998). In the United States and Central America, this species also grows on poor soils in areas subject to heavy grazing and mowing (Cook et al. 2005).  

Characteristics of B. pertusa include rapid early development of an effective nodal root system, adaptation to a wide range of soil types, tolerance to drought and fire, good seed producing ability and low maintenance requirements. It could, when planted deliberately, be established on various substrates including mulch, cover crop and a fine seed bed (Truong and McDowell, 1985).

Optimum rainfall is 600-900 mm/annum but the species is not restricted to this and grows well with much higher annual rainfall. It is tolerant of widely varying soil types and not dependent on high soil fertility. Shoots are damaged by frost.

Climate

Top of page
ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Af - Tropical rainforest climate Preferred > 60mm precipitation per month
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Preferred Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Tolerated Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

Top of page
Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
35 30

Rainfall

Top of page
ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Mean annual rainfall5002000mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

Top of page Bimodal
Summer
Uniform
Winter

Soil Tolerances

Top of page

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • alkaline
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • infertile
  • saline

Natural enemies

Top of page
Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Aeneolamia reducta Herbivore
Claviceps purpurea Pathogen
Claviceps pusilla Pathogen
Crypticerya genistae Herbivore
Macalpinomyces bothriochloae Pathogen
Nigrocornus scleroticus Pathogen
Nothanguina cecidoplastes Herbivore
Physoderma bothriochloae Pathogen
Puccinia cesatii Pathogen
Puccinia duthiei Pathogen
Puccinia erythraeensis Pathogen
Puccinia pusilla Pathogen
Sporisorium Pathogen
Sporisorium tenue Pathogen
Uromyces andropogonis-annulati Pathogen

Notes on Natural Enemies

Top of page

B. pertusa is a confirmed host of the spittlebug Aeneolamiareducta (Peck et al., 2002) and of the scale insect Crypticerya genistae in Florida, USA (Hodges et al., 2008).

It is a host for the nematode Nothanguina cecidoplastes in India (Devaiah et al., 1973).

Cook et al. (2005) record susceptibility to the fungi Puccinia duthiei andClaviceps pusilla (which are the main pathogens in cultivation), as well as a Sporisorium sp., Balansia sclerotica[Nigrocornus scleroticus], Claviceps purpurea, Physoderma bothriochloae, Puccinia cesatii, P. erythraeensis, P. pusilla, Sphacelotheca tenuis[Sporisorium tenue], Ustilago bothriochloae [Macalpinomyces bothriochloae] and Uromyces andropogonis-annulati. The same source notes that the variety Dawson is resistant to the rust Puccinia duthiei.

Means of Movement and Dispersal

Top of page

Natural Dispersal (Non-Biotic)

Natural dispersal of B. pertusa is presumed to be by wind and water movement but no specific information has been seen.

Vector Transmission (Biotic)

There can be some movement of seed via livestock, birds and humans (ISSG, 2013).

Accidental Introduction

Accidental introduction can no doubt occur via contaminated seed of forage grass and legume species, but no documentation has been seen.

Intentional Introduction

Deliberate introduction is likely to have occurred, and could still occur, for use as a forage plant or soil stabilization agent.

Pathway Causes

Top of page
CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Forage Yes Yes
Habitat restoration and improvement Yes Yes
HitchhikerLivestock, birds and humans Yes

Pathway Vectors

Top of page
VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Land vehiclesSeeds, plant fragments Yes
LivestockSeeds, plant fragments Yes
Machinery and equipmentContaminant Yes
Soil, sand and gravelContaminant Yes
WaterPresumed Yes
WindPresumed Yes

Impact Summary

Top of page
CategoryImpact
Economic/livelihood Positive and negative
Environment (generally) Positive and negative

Economic Impact

Top of page

It seems likely that there has been economic impact where B. pertusa has invaded pastures and reduced the carrying capacity of the grazing (e.g. Kutt and Kemp, 2012), but it appears that no quantification of the financial impact has been reported.

Environmental Impact

Top of page

Impact on Biodiversity

In Hawaii, the endangered species Spermolepis hawaiiensis (Apiaceae) on Kauai Island is threatened by introduced species including B. pertusa (US Fish and Wildlife Service 2010b). On the same island the endangered Wilkesia hobdyi (Compositae) is also threatened by B. pertusa and other introduced species invading areas grazed by goats (US Fish and Wildlife Service 2010a).

Kutt and Kemp (2012) describe how B. pertusa was introduced to Australia as a species for rehabilitation of degraded grazing land but has negatively affected species richness in natural pastures into which it has spread.

In a study in Queensland, Australia, comparing invaded and less invaded sites, the replacement of the native Bothriochloa ewartiana by the introduced B. pertusa resulted in a different faunal species composition. In particular, bird species richness was negatively correlated with B. pertusa frequency, as was the abundance of ground nesting birds (e.g. rufous songlark Cincloramphus mathewsi and golden-headed cisticola Cisticola exilis) and terrestrial reptiles (e.g. Carlia munda and Ctenotus taeniolatus); on the other hand disturbance-tolerant species such as the Australian magpie Cracticus tibicen and yellow-throated miner Manorina flavigula were more abundant in the B. pertusa-dominated sites (Kutt and Fisher, 2011).

Also in Queensland, ant abundance, richness and diversity were significantly lower in sites which were characterized by high levels of B. pertusa. These changes could arise indirectly through the effects of B. pertusa on changes in native plant community structure and habitat complexity (Kutt and Fisher, 2010).

B. pertusa is seriously affecting the Critically Endangered endemic St. Croix Ground Lizard (Ameiva polops) on Green Cay, off St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands. McNair and Lombard (2004) found that this endangered species was essentially absent from areas dominated by B. pertusa, which forms dense mats and shades out shrubs especially on the windward slopes. On Ruth Island, also off St. Croix, the same story is observed although to a lesser degree (McNair and Mackay, 2005).

Hussain et al. (2011) suggest that B. pertusa may have some allelopathic activity, but Hu and Jones (1999) failed to confirm any allelopathy against Stylosanthes hamata in Australia.

In Cuba and Costa Rica B. pertusa is listed as one of the most noxious invasive plants invading areas in dry and wet forests (Chacon and Saborio, 2012; Oviedo Prieto et al., 2012). 

Threatened Species

Top of page
Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Ameiva polopsCR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered)United States Virgin IslandsMcNair and Mackay, 2005
Spermolepis hawaiiensis (Hawaii scaleseed)USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Ecosystem change / habitat alterationUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010b
Wilkesia hobdyi (dwarf iliau)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); National list(s) National list(s); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetitionUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010a

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Long lived
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
  • Reproduces asexually
  • Has high genetic variability
Impact outcomes
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of endangered species
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - shading
  • Competition - smothering
  • Competition
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
  • Difficult to identify/detect in the field

Uses

Top of page

Economic Value

B. pertusa has been used and studied as a pasture grass intensively in Australia and Colombia, and utilized in many other countries, including for example India and Mauritius. In Australia it was concluded that B. pertusa is a useful pasture grass giving steer gains equal to, or higher than, the gains from the native pasture which it replaced (Jones, 1997). Cook et al. (2005) comment that it is suitable as a permanent pasture on poorer soils and can be cut for hay or silage, but becomes unpalatable after flowering.

B. pertusa is still valued as a forage in Colombia, especially on degraded soils, as a number of recent publications confirm (e.g. Roncallo F et al., 2012). It is also ‘highly esteemed’ as a forage in Pakistan (Missouri Botanical Garden, 2013).

USDA-ARS (2013) refers to uses for erosion control, as a lawn/turf grass, as a plant for revegetation, and as a forage.

Environmental Services

B. pertusa can be useful when it takes over areas and prevents natural soil erosion (ISSG, 2013). For instance, it has been used as a component of a grass mixture for controlling erosion on railway embankments in Australia (Gyasi-Agyei et al., 2001). Pastures dominated by B. pertusa had lower runoff and lower rates of soil movement than pastures dominated by Heteropogon contortus when compared at the same level of cover (Scanlan et al., 1996).

Uses List

Top of page

Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Forage

Environmental

  • Erosion control or dune stabilization
  • Land reclamation
  • Revegetation
  • Soil conservation

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

Top of page

B. insculpta is distinguished from B. pertusa by having pedicelled spikelets pitted (though B. pertusa can sometimes have them) and sessile glabrous spikelets (Froman and Persson, 1974). Also it normally has more racemes and is more robust, taller, and less stoloniferous than B. pertusa.

Prevention and Control

Top of page

Cultural Control and Sanitary Measures

On the US Virgin Islands it has been suggested that B. pertusa should be mechanically removed and the area immediately replanted with native seedlings of Tabebuia heterophylla, Cordia rickseckeri, Conocarpus erectus, and other suitable trees (Bursera simaruba) and taller shrubs, which will prevent the shade-intolerant grass from re-establishing itself (ISSG, 2013).

Physical/Mechanical Control

An increase in cutting frequency tended to increase the dry matter yield of B. pertusa (Rangel, 2001).

Biological Control

There is no record of any attempt at biological control.

Chemical Control

Bothriochloa spp. are listed as susceptible to methazole post-emergence (Zandstra, 2013).

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

Top of page

There is a need for more information on control of B. pertusa by herbicides.

References

Top of page

Acevedo-Rodríguez P, Strong MT, 2012. Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies. Smithsonian Contributions to Botany, 98:1192 pp. Washington DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution. http://botany.si.edu/Antilles/WestIndies/catalog.htm

Alba J de, Gould FW, 1977. An invasive grass, Bothriochloa pertusa L., in grasslands of Southern Tamaulipas. (Una graminea invasora [Bothriochloa pertusa (L.) Camus] en praderas del sur de Tamaulipas.) Revista Mexicana de Producción Animal, 9:43-48.

Aumont G, Xande A, 1989. The contents of major minerals, sulphur and trace elements in Pangola grass and savannas in Guadeloupe (F.W.I.). (Teneurs en minéraux majeurs, soufre et oligoéléments du pangola et de savanes en Guadeloupe (F.W.I.).) In: Pâturages et alimentation des ruminants en zone tropicale humide. Paris, France: INRA, 127-135.

Bhat SA, Kaul V, 1989. Grassland communities of Dachigam-Telbal catchment, Kashmir. Indian Forester, 115(8):567-577.

Broome R, Sabir K, Carrington S, 2007. Plants of the Eastern Caribbean. Online database. Barbados: University of the West Indies. http://ecflora.cavehill.uwi.edu/index.html

Cadet T, 1970. Study of the vegetation of Glaos basin, Isle of Reunion, Indian Ocean: the vegetation following crop cultivation. Annales de la Faculte des Sciences de Marseille, 44:79-93.

Chacón E, Saborío G, 2012. Red Interamericana de Información de Especies Invasoras, Costa Rica ([English title not available]). San José, Costa Rica: Asociación para la Conservación y el Estudio de la Biodiversidad. http://invasoras.acebio.org

Chippindall LKA, 1955. The grasses and pastures of South Africa. Pt. 1. A guide to the identification of grasses in South Africa [ed. by Meredith, D.]. South Africa: Trustees of Grasses and Pastures of South Africa Book Fund, xvi + 771 pp.

Clayton WD, Govaerts R, Harman KT, Williamson H, Vorontsova M, 2014. World Checklist of Poaceae. Richmond, UK: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/

Clayton WD, Renvoize SA, 1982. Flora of Tropical East Africa. Graminea (Part 3). Rotterdam, The Netherlands: A.A. Balkema, 448 pp.

Cook B, Pengelly B, Brown S, Donnelly J, Eagle D, Franco A, Hanson J, Mullen B, Partridge I, Peters M, Schultze-Kraft R, 2005. Tropical Forages: an interactive selection tool. Brisbane, Australia: CSIRO, DPI&F (Qld), CIAT and ILRI. http://www.tropicalforages.info/

Devaiah MC, Muthukrishnan TS, Subramaniam TR, 1973. Studies on the biology of the gall forming nematode Nothanguina cecidoplastes (Goodey, 1934) Whitehead 1959. Madras Agricultural Journal, 60(7):543-547.

eFloras, 2013. Flora of China. St. Louis, Missouri and Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden and Harvard University Herbaria. http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=2

Farrukh Hussain, Ihsan Ilahi, Malik SA, Dasti AA, Bashir Ahmad, 2011. Allelopathic effects of rain leachates and root exudates of Cenchrus ciliaris L. and Bothriochloa pertusa (L.) A. Camus. Pakistan Journal of Botany, 43(1):341-350. http://www.pakbs.org/pjbot/PDFs/43(1)/PJB43(1)341.pdf

Flora Mesoamericana, 2014. Flora Mesoamericana. St. Louis, Missouri, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden. http://www.tropicos.org/Project/FM

Flora of Nicaragua, 2014. Flora of Nicaragua, Tropicos website. St. Louis, Missouri and Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden and Harvard University Herbaria. http://tropicos.org/NameSearch.aspx?projectid=7

Froman B, Persson S, 1974. An illustrated guide to the grasses of Ethiopia. Asella, Ethiopia: Chilalo Agricultural Development Unit, 504 pp.

GBIF, 2013. Global Biodiversity Information Facility. Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). http://data.gbif.org/species/

Gomez S C, Mercado J, Payares F, Perez C A, 2010. Identification of nematodes associated with colosuana grass (Bothriochloa pertusa (L) A. Camus) in the municipality of Sampués, department of Sucre, Colombia. (Identificacion de nematodos asociados al pasto colosuana (Bothriochloa pertusa (L) A. Camus) en el municipio de Sampues, Departamento de Sucre, Colombia.) Revista Colombiana de Ciencia Animal, 2(2):325-330. http://www.recia.edu.co/documentos-recia/vol2num2/A_8_ORIGINAL_NEMATODOS_ALEXANDER.pdf

Graveson R, 2012. The Plants of Saint Lucia (in the Lesser Antilles of the Caribbean). The Plants of Saint Lucia (in the Lesser Antilles of the Caribbean). http://www.saintlucianplants.com

Grossi N, Volterrani M, Pardini G, Pistoia A, Ferruzzi G, 1998. Tropical fodder crops in coastal Tuscany. Note I. Agronomic characteristics and adaptability. Journal of Agriculture and Environment for International Development, 92(4):195-206.

Gyasi-Agyei Y, Sibley J, Ashwath N, 2001. Quantitative evaluation of strategies for erosion control on a railway embankment batter. Hydrological Processes, 15(17):3249-3268.

Harlan JR, Wet JMJ de, Richardson WL, Chheda HR, 1961. Studies on old world bluestems III. Technical Bulletin. Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station, T-92. 30 pp.

Hodges GS, Hodges AC, Unruh CM, 2008. A new exotic pest for Florida's natural areas: Crypticerya genistae (Hemiptera: Monophlebidae). Florida Entomologist, 91(2):335-337. http://www.fcla.edu/FlaEnt/

Hu FD, Jones RJ, 1999. Effects of leachates from swards of Bothriochloa pertusa and Urochloa mosambicensis on the growth of four test species, B. pertusa, U. mosambicensis, Stylosanthes hamata cv. Verano and S. scabra cv. Seca and an assessment of the endophyte status of the grasses. Tropical Grasslands, 33(2):122-126.

ISSG (IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group), 2013. Global Invasive Species Database (GISD). IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group. http://www.issg.org/database/welcome/

Jones RJ, 1997. Steer gains, pasture yield and pasture composition on native pasture and on native pasture oversown with Indian couch (Bothriochloa pertusa) at three stocking rates. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 37(7):755-765.

Kairo M, Ali B, Cheesman O, Haysom K, Murphy S, 2003. Invasive species threats in the Caribbean region. Report to the Nature Conservancy. Curepe, Trinidad and Tobago: CAB International, 132 pp. http://www.issg.org/database/species/reference_files/Kairo%20et%20al,%202003.pdf

Kutt AS, Fisher A, 2010. Ant assemblages change with increasing dominance of an exotic pasture grass in a tropical savanna woodland. Ecological Management & Restoration, 11(1):67-69. http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/loi/emr

Kutt AS, Fisher A, 2011. Increased grazing and dominance of an exotic pasture (Bothriochloa pertusa) affects vertebrate fauna species composition, abundance and habitat in savanna woodland. Rangeland Journal, 33(1):49-58. http://www.publish.csiro.au/nid/202.htm

Kutt AS, Kemp JE, 2012. Native plant diversity in tropical savannas decreases when exotic pasture grass cover increases. Rangeland Journal, 34(2):183-189. http://www.publish.csiro.au/nid/202.htm

Li LingFei, Li Tao, Zhang Yan, Zhao ZhiWei, 2010. Molecular diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and their distribution patterns related to host-plants and habitats in a hot and arid ecosystem, southwest China. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 71(3):418-427. http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/loi/fem

Lindsay K, Horwith B, 1999. A Vegetation Classification of St. Kitts and Nevis: Implications for Conservation. Road Town, British Virgin Islands: Island Resources Foundation, 69 pp.

Madagascar Catalogue, 2014. Catalogue of the Vascular Plants of Madagascar. St. Louis, Missouri, USA and Antananarivo, Madagascar: Missouri Botanical Garden. http://www.tropicos.org/project/mada

McIvor JG, 1998. Pasture management in semi-arid tropical woodlands: effects on species diversity. Australian Journal of Ecology, 23(4):349-364.

McIvor JG, 2007. Pasture management in semi-arid tropical woodlands: dynamics of perennial grasses. Rangeland Journal, 29(1):87-100. http://www.publish.csiro.au/nid/202.htm

McIvor JG, Singh V, Corfield JP, Jones RJ, 1996. Seed production by native and naturalised grasses in north-east Queensland: effects of stocking rate and season. Tropical Grasslands, 30(2):262-269.

McNair DB, Lombard CD, 2004. Population estimates, habitat associations, and management of Ameiva polops (Cope) at Green Cay, United States Virgin Islands. Caribbean Journal of Science, 40(3):353-361. http://caribjsci.org/dec04/40_353-361.pdf

McNair DB, Mackay A, 2005. Population Estimates and Management of Ameiva polops (Cope) at Ruth Island, United States Virgin Islands. Caribbean Journal of Science, 41(2):352-357.

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2013. Tropicos database. St Louis, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden. http://www.tropicos.org/

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2014. Tropicos database. St. Louis, Missouri, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden. http://www.tropicos.org/

Noltie HJ, 2000. Flora of Bhutan, Volume 3 Part 2. The Grasses of Bhutan. Edinburgh, UK: Royal Botanic Gardens, 437 pp.

Oviedo Prieto R, Herrera Oliver P, Caluff MG, et al. , 2012. National list of invasive and potentially invasive plants in the Republic of Cuba - 2011. (Lista nacional de especies de plantas invasoras y potencialmente invasoras en la República de Cuba - 2011). Bissea: Boletín sobre Conservación de Plantas del Jardín Botánico Nacional de Cuba, 6(Special Issue 1):22-96.

Parihar SS, Rai P, 1985. Longevity and seed germination in range grasses. Indian Journal of Ecology, 12(1):168-170.

Parveen Akhtar, Farrukh Hussain, 2008. Salinity tolerance of three range grasses at germination and early growth stages. Pakistan Journal of Botany, 40(6):2437-2441. http://www.pjbot.org

Paterson RT, 1986. Pasture research and development in Antigua. In: Pasture research and development in the Eastern Caribbean. Proceedings of a workshop held in Antigua 3-4 July, 1986. St John's, Antigua: Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute, 51-59.

Pathak PS, Roy RD, Rai P, 1971. Autecology of grassland species: germination studies in grasses and fodder trees. In: Indian Grassland and Fodder Research Institute, Jhansi: Annual report 1971, 79-80.

Peck DC, Pérez AM, Medina JW, 2002. Biology and habits of Aeneolamia reducta and A. lepidior in the Caribbean Coast of Colombia. (Biología y hábitos de Aeneolamia reducta y A. lepidior en la Costa Caribe de Colombia.) Pasturas Tropicales, 24(1):16-26.

Pengelly BC, Staples IB, Scattini WJ, 1997. Variation in collections of Bothriochloa pertusa and B. insculpta. Genetic Resources Communication, No. 27. 18 pp.

Pérez-C A, Botero-L C, Cepero-G M, 2012. Diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizae in colosuana grass (Bothriochloa pertusa) (L.) A. Camus of livestock farms of the municipality of Corozal-Sucre. (Diversidad de micorrizas arbusculares en pasto colosuana (Bothriochloa pertusa) (L) A. Camus de fincas ganaderas del municipio de Corozal-Sucre.) Revista MVZ Cordoba, 17(2):3024-3032. http://revistas.unicordoba.edu.co/revistamvz/mvz-172/body/v17n2a10.html

Perez-C A, Rojas-S J, Fuentes-C J, 2010. Diversity of endophytic bacteria associated with roots of colosuana grass(Bothriochloa pertusa) in three locations of Sucre Department, Colombia. (Diversidad de bacterias endófitas asociadas a raíces del pasto colosuana (Bothriochloa pertusa) en tres localidades del Departamento de Sucre, Colombia.) Acta Biológica Colombiana, 15(2):219-228. http://www.virtual.unal.edu.co/revistas/actabiol

PIER, 2013. Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk. Honolulu, Hawaii, USA: HEAR, University of Hawaii. http://www.hear.org/pier/index.html

Rangel JH de A, 2001. Competitive behavior of four grasses and six tropical forage legumes under different cut frequencies. (Competitividade de quatro gramíneas e seis leguminosas forrageiras tropicais em resposta a frequência de desfolhamento.) Revista Científica Rural, 6(1):13-21.

Rogers GS, Little SA, Silcock SJ, Williams LF, 2004. No-till vegetable production using organic mulches. Acta Horticulturae [Sustainability of horticultural systems in the 21st Century, a proceedings of the XXVI International Horticultural Congress, Toronto, Canada, 11-17 August, 2002.], No.638:215-223. http://www.actahort.org

Roncallo-F B, Murillo-S J, Rodríguez G, Bonilla RR, Garrido MF, 2012. Forage production and animal response in soils in the Cesar valley under a recovery process. (Producción de forraje y respuesta animal en suelos del valle del Cesar en proceso de recuperación.) Revista Corpoica - Ciencia y Tecnologia Agropecuarias, 13(1):89-96. http://www.corpoica.org.co/SitioWeb/Archivos/Revista/RevistaCientificaCorpoica-Capitulo11.pdf

Scanlan JC, Pressland AJ, Myles DJ, 1996. Run-off and soil movement on mid-slopes in north-east Queensland [Australia] grazed woodlands. Rangeland Journal, 18(1):33-46.

Shukla U, 1996. The grasses of north-eastern India. Jodhpur, India: Scientific Publishers, 404 pp.

Tóth T, Kertész M, Guerra LC, Labrada JL, Machado PB, Fonseca PC, Martinez MN, 1997, publ. 1998. Plant composition of a pasture as a predictor of soil salinity. Revista de Biología Tropical, 45(4):1385-1393.

Truong PN, McDowell M, 1985. Indian bluegrass for soil conservation and land stabilization in Queensland. Journal of the Soil Conservation Service of New South Wales, 41(1):38-44.

US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010. In: 5-Year Review, Short Form Summary: Wilkesia hobdyi (dwarf iliau). US Fish and Wildlife Service, 8 pp.

US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010. In: Spermolepis hawaiiensis (no common name). 5-Year Review: Summary and Evaluation. US Fish and Wildlife Service, 19 pp.

USDA-ARS, 2013. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. Beltsville, Maryland, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory. https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysearch.aspx

USDA-NRCS, 2013. The PLANTS Database. Baton Rouge, USA: National Plant Data Center. http://plants.usda.gov/

Valls JFM, 2014. Bothriochloa in Lista de Espécies da Flora do Brasil (Bothriochloa in the list of species of the flora of Brazil). Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro. http://reflora.jbrj.gov.br/jabot/floradobrasil/FB127207

Wet JMJ de, Higgins ML, 1963. Species relationships within the Bothriochloa pertusa complex. Phyton, Vicente Lopez, 20:205-11.

Wet, JMJ de, Higgins ML, 1964. Cytology of the Bothriochloa pertusa complex. Cytoologia, 29:101-108. https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/cytologia1929/29/1/29_1_103/_pdf

Zandstra BH, 2013. Weed control cross-reference. Michigan, USA: Michigan State University. https://www.msu.edu/~zandstra/weed.htm

Contributors

Top of page

20/05/14 Updated by:

Julissa Rojas-Sandoval, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

Pedro Acevedo-Rodríguez, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

09/04/13: Original text by:

Chris Parker, consultant, Bristol, UK.

Distribution Maps

Top of page
You can pan and zoom the map
Save map